DAN BICKLEY

Kyler Murray can begin carrying Cardinals, but they must ante up

Jun 14, 2022, 2:02 PM | Updated: 2:02 pm

Clarity and brevity are important in today’s world. So here goes:

We need Kyler Murray.

We need to believe in him, trust in him, cheer for him. We need him to be great. Starting now.

We need him to make us forget about the Suns, a team that inflicted great trauma on the Valley, a psychological wound that might take years to heal. The Suns made us feel cursed all over again, too small for the big time.

Murray knows exactly how we’re feeling. I know because I ran into Murray after the conclusion of the Suns’ Game 6 in Dallas. He was shaking his head in disbelief.

“That was an a**-kicking,” he said.

We need Murray to be the antidote and the exception, a No. 1 overall pick that must validate our hopes and dreams. He must not become Deandre Ayton, who is the rumored subject of an impending trade.

There are many similarities between Murray and Ayton. Both are incredibly gifted for their respective size. Both are polarizing figures in the Valley. Both come with massive, untapped potential and equally gigantic price tags.

Difference is, the Cardinals must pay Murray. And hope for the best.

That became abundantly clear after the first day of mandatory minicamp, where head coach Kliff Kingsbury was candid, funny and made a heartfelt plea to have Murray in the fold before the heavy lifting begins.

“I’m praying before training camp,” Kingsbury said of the team reaching a contract extension with the quarterback.

Kingsbury earlier declared that the Cardinals were “about to make him, I’m sure, the highest-paid player in franchise history.” But that doesn’t mean the Cardinals are committed to paying a top-of-the-market price that Murray is surely seeking. Hence, Kingsbury’s prayer.

It’s also important because Kingsbury also told the media that Rodney Hudson is missing from camp with an unexcused absence, and that the Cardinals and their star center are working through some issues. Whatever the situation is, it sounds ominous.

Which is why we need Murray to carry the Cardinals, through their flaws and their weaknesses on defense, past DeAndre Hopkins’ six-game suspension. And if all goes well, the Cardinals can unleash the hounds in Week 7, where a trio of Hopkins, Hollywood Brown and Rondale Moore might rank among the most dangerous receiving trios in the NFL.

Kingsbury had all those skill players at his disposal in minicamp on Tuesday, and you could sense his brewing excitement.

Already this offseason, tight end Zach Ertz called Murray the “most talented player I’ve ever been around.”

J.J. Watt said that Murray knows he is a different quarterback and “going to do it his way.” D.J. Humphries accused all skeptics of day drinking.

If you’ve been paying attention, it sounds like a team rallying around their quarterback. Which is a tremendous sign.

We need Murray to make it all happen for the Valley, and he did his part on Tuesday. He worked out with his teammates instead of protesting on the sidelines while waiting for a new contract.

Now, we need the Cardinals to ante up. Before training camp. Just like Kingsbury implored.

Unlike the Suns, they have no options or alibis available.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6-10 a.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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Kyler Murray can begin carrying Cardinals, but they must ante up